Cultural Globalization And Cultural Hybridization

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In this epoch of globalization, cultures surge globally at a rapid pace. Be it listening to Western music in Taiwan, watching Japanese animation in Indonesia, or consuming Thai food in America, the everyday lives of most people involve experiencing cultures brought in from another part of the world. These flows of culture, according to Ritzer and Dean (2015), has three divergent dynamics: cultural convergence, cultural hybridization and cultural differentialism. Cultural hybridization suggests the production of distinctive blends due to the merging of global and local cultures while cultural convergence highlights that cultures are becoming increasingly similar. In contrast, cultural differentialism emphasizes on the difference in cultures…show more content…
Now, at most part of the globe, one would be greeted with a Starbucks store at almost every turn that provides consumers with similar experience. This great amount of Starbucks around us has gradually integrated into our daily life and eventually changed our perception of coffee houses (Thompson and Arsel 2004, 639). For example, one would prefer higher quality coffees or expect coffee houses to provide a self-service corner to add toppings such as cinnamon and chocolate powder to one’s own liking. This form of cultural imperialism by Starbucks has not only destroyed traditional cultures but also Americanized them. For instance, Taiwan’s previously strong tea culture has been on a decline ever since its exposure to the Western coffee culture. Along with the opening of Starbucks in Taiwan was an increase in demand for coffee. Thus, to cater to all demands, more coffee houses have opened in Taiwan while tea houses were forced out of business due to a lack of customers (Lee 2015). Therefore, there are both positive and negative aspects on the homogenization of the world coffee…show more content…
To point out, hybridization of Starbucks could be observed from the chain store in Insadong, Seoul. Insadong is one of the most historical street in Seoul and its main attractions are traditional Korean culture and artworks. To fit into this traditional street, Starbucks, filled with Western culture, has decided to ‘Koreanize’ itself by having a Korean signboard – the first ever Starbucks shop with a non-English logo. Not only that, they also sell traditional Korean food like rice juice and rice cake (Song 2012, 31). As such, Insadong’s Starbucks is an example of cultural hybridization where the mixture of a Western-style coffee and traditional Korean culture has resulted in a ‘Koreanized’ Starbucks chain store that is, to a certain extent, accepted by

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